A survey into how people cope with mental health problems at work has found that a large number of people would rather suffer in silence than reveal their illness to their boss. At least two fifths of those asked admitted they had concealed depression, anxiety or stress from their employer.
More than half think their career will suffer if they’re open about mental health conditions.
So if the results hold true for the population as a whole, over 7.5 million people could be suffering a mental illness, and over 3 million could be hiding it at work.
It looks like people are afraid to be open because of stigma. A Time to Change survey in 2008 found that 87% of people with mental health problems had experienced stigma.
One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem over this year.
The most common mental health problem in the UK is mixed anxiety and depression. Almost one in ten people will experience it.
Most people only suffer in the short term
The Mental Health Foundation suggests the majority of common mental health problems are resolved within 18 months.
However, anyone suffering from a mental health problem can qualify as disabled under the Equality Act 2010. This should protect them from discrimination, including in their working life.
But as the numbers show, people are still too frightened to open up to employers – potentially denying themselves rights in the process.
This article first appeared on ‘Mirror’ on 7 October 2014.